This weekend my husband has been away for three bedtimes. On paper it sounds so simple, look after my two children for the weekend. The reality was that by 8pm on Friday, I was probably the most scared I have ever been.
Big was so dysregulated and hurting me and Little so much that I ended up putting Little into my bed and sitting by the door to stop Big coming in. Fortunately, (somehow) Little went to sleep quite quickly. I then sat in the hall for an hour listening to Big scream that she hates me, that I stink, to her listing all the things she was going to do to hurt me next time.
It was totally the wrong thing to do, I left Big isolated and alone but I didn’t know what to do.
This weekend I realised that I am scared of my nearly six year old. I am scared of how violent she is. I am scared that I cannot predict when this will happen. I am scared because I am not always hurt in the middle of a meltdown, I can be hurt sitting next to her on the sofa watching telly, I can be hurt as I pass her a book.
I am scared that one day I will not be able to manage this anymore. This Friday is the closest I’ve come to saying ‘I cannot do this.’ (I am very grateful to a Twitter friend who supported me through that moment.) As I said to someone today, I am giving her as much as I have, but she needs so much more. I am scared that I will never have or be enough for her.
I am scared that I cannot keep Little safe. I am with them constantly. But they have to share a room, Little has no safe space of her own and she wants one. She keeps asking me for one. We’ve separated bedtime. We try to give them as much one to one time as possible. But she is still being hurt.
I am scared that I am nowhere near to getting this right for Big. That she has lived with me for nearly 3 years and she is still terrified. She does not feel safe here. She does not feel loved. She doesn’t trust me, she cannot talk to me, she cannot come to me for comfort.
It’s a hard feeling to admit to. I don’t like it. But I feel I need to say it. I hope that this will change. That we can find a way to help Big to manage these huge feelings that she is trying to manage all by herself. That we can move towards everyone feeling safe.
The best bits
I didn’t know whether to put the best bits in today but it’s probably good to mention those too.
We swam on both days this weekend. The amount of confidence the girls have gained recently still astonishes me. It is one of my favourite things to watch them doing. On Sunday Little swam. Not just a tiny bit but nearly 5m. Then she flipped onto her back and casually started swimming on her back! Happy tears.
Big is choosing to wear her ear defenders a lot more. At school she is actively seeking them out when she needs them, which is a very positive thing to hear.